India 2013

India 2013: traffic mayhem!

I thought I would post what I sent to a couple of prayer partners; I tried to send this earlier, but I’ve been having trouble logging in to WordPress.com.  This weekend ended up a little differently than I had expected, and I think that may be for the best.  We left early (0600) Saturday morning to drive to Mysore, a city about 150 km southwest of Bangalore, to do some sightseeing on the recommendation of the Principal of SAIACS.  The school provided a van and a driver to ferry us to and around Mysore.  We stayed in a hotel there, with about Super 8 quality, for under $40!  The rest of the team toured around the city, but still feeling the effects of my cold, I opted to stay in my room and get some bonus rest.  It was worth it, as I feel quite a bit better today (though not 100% yet).  Our team leader, David Sherbino, suggested that we not take preaching engagements this weekend, since we all were so tired from the schedule of the first week of the retreat in daily life.  We all were glad for that.

The visit to Mysore was interesting, but what was most interesting is the whole process of driving to and from the place.  Not being certain of the population, I’d guess that Mysore is about the same size as Mississauga – maybe a bit bigger (I was close; when I checked this, the population is something close to 900,000).  Bangalore has a population of 10 million, and SAIACS is on the exact opposite end of the city to the Mysore Road, so that’s why we had to leave at 0600 on Saturday morning – to beat the traffic.  Coming back on Sunday at about 5:00, we could see why we left so early on Saturday.  Even though there is a ring road around Bangalore, I’m not sure we used much of it, as we zig-zagged through the city.  From SAIACS to the southwest edge of Bangalore, on Saturday morning, took us an hour and a half.  It would be like crawling across Toronto along Eglinton Avenue from one end to the other (and quadruple the traffic!).
Our driver is an expert in driving in India.  If there are any traffic regulations, nobody pays attention to them.  Sometimes, there are lines on the roads, but nobody pays attention to them.  There are speed bumps everywhere, and those are what people pay attention to, and probably what save countless lives every year (though I heard a statistic that something like 17 people a minute are killed on Indian roads every day).  We never saw an accident, but we saw a lot of close calls!  Thank heaven for Viji’s excellent driving skills.  I was sitting in the front seat with him, so I got the best view of what was going on – and I’m glad I trusted our driver completely!
Your prayers, and Viji’s driving, kept us safe on this weekend of sabbath rest.  We are geared up to go back at ‘er on Monday morning, looking forward to what God is going to do!
TUESDAY UPDATE:  We did go back at ‘er on Monday, and more people began opening up as they are getting to know us; we are seeing the same today, too.  Lives are being enriched by participating in the retreat in daily life.  We are immensely grateful for what God is doing among us, in no small part thanks to your prayers!
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